Security Has Ranking Value
Earlier this week at SMX, a panel discussed the merits of HTTPS (Secure Hypertext Transfer Protocol) for search ranking (SEO). Google Webmaster Trends Analyst, Gary Illyes, shared insights on why secure search is getting more attention in the algorithm. We’ll explore what it means to organic search.
Slow Adoption Rates
According to Illyes, only 10% of URLs are HTTPS; and, 30% of search queries have at least one secure URL on a SERP.
So why haven’t more Webmasters switched to HTTPS? The simple answer: speed and complexity. During the SMX panel discussion, Illyes tried to dispel the misconceptions that HTTPS slows down a site and that it’s hard to implement.
History of HTTPS for Search Ranking
Matt Cutts, head of Webspam, mentioned during last year’s SMX West conference that security will become a ranking signal for Google’s algorithm. In August 2014, Google went public in August with their opinion regarding HTTPS for search ranking. Now, Illyes further expanded the discussion around broken security certificates. He interprets such lapses as a sign that a Webmaster doesn’t consider a user’s experience a top priority.
SEO-Related Questions to Switching to HTTPS
I had some major concerns about switching to HTTPS for search rankings. Illyes answered them nicely:
1. 301 Redirects from HTTP to HTTPS – will I lose SEO/link juice? According to Illyes, he says no, that there should be a 100% transfer. Good answer, however I’d like to see more assurances that SEO equity would not be lost.
2. Does HTTPS affect page speed? No, it shouldn’t affect page speed and it’s appearance on a SERP.
3. Is it important even for non-ecommerce sites to make the switch? It is recommended, as it demonstrate integrity.
So it looks like HTTPS for search rankings is becoming even more a reality. What are your thoughts? Any concerns?
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photo credit: Scott Schiller